By: Jared Hines
A win is a win.
Down 4-0 in the second inning, the No. 1 seeded Monticello Magic came back and defeated Duluth Denfield 5-4 in the first round of the MSHSL Class AAA State Tournament on Thursday morning.
The path was anything but ideal.
After a scoreless first inning, Duluth’s bats got hot. Magic pitcher Alex Otto continued to get ahead in the count but the Hunters’ batters battled tough, knocking five hits and scoring four runs. The Magic switched pitchers with two outs in the inning, bringing in Ethan Bosacker to relieve Otto and came up to bat needing to bring in some runs of their own.
Frandsen started the bottom of the second with a walk, advancing to second on a Carson Sawatzke single. With two outs, Cal Schmitz brought in Frandsen and Sawatzke scored later on a wild pitch. The four-run deficit was cut in half as Bosacker took the mound in the third inning and Bosacker faced just four batters in the third, bringing the Magic up with a chance to do more damage on offense.
Jason Axelberg started the third inning with a triple, lighting up the Magic dugout and the huge Magic crowd that made its way down to Siebert Field. Otto popped out to the left fielder to bring in Axelberg on a sacrifice fly. After a Bosacker flyout to center field, Frandsen stepped up for his second at-bat. He finally saw a pitch he liked after three balls and one strike and lifted the ball over the right-field fence, tying the game. The dugout emptied as the team greeted Frandsen at home plate with slaps to his helmet and loud cheers.
From there, Bosacker and the defense kept the Hunters off the basepaths. Bosacker allowed just one hit in the fifth inning, bringing Monticello up to bat in the sixth inning with a chance to break the tie.
The bottom of the sixth inning started with a Frandsen walk with Jackson Pribyl laying down the first pitch of his at-bat down for a bunt. With the winning run at second, Sawatzke knocked Frandsen in, completing the comeback. After a Sawatzke-Pribyl putout for the first out in the top of the seventh inning, Bosacker took care of the other two batters himself, finishing the game with six strikeouts in the win.
The Magic (19-5) will travel back to Siebert Field on Friday afternoon for a semifinal matchup vs. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (15-9). The game is set to begin at 12:00 p.m.